When we think of Touch-a-Truck events, it’s usually little kids who come to mind, honking horns relentlessly, climbing what seems like endless stories for a chance to sit in the driver’s seat while grinning at parents through the oversized windshield.

And there was plenty of that on Saturday in Town Center as hundreds of kids explored the fire trucks, ambulances, helicopters, 4x4s, excavators, bulldozers, dump trucks, and loaders. There was even a school bus and a pirate ship on hand for curious kiddos.

FPL had their heavy equipment on site as did FCC, the City of Palm Coast’s waste hauler, to the delight of little ones.

“We’ve got a two-year-old and we try to get out of the house and do things with her as much as possible,” said dad Dustin Smith, out with daughter Mila and wife Lauren.

“We saw this and she loves to be around people, she loves to run free, and we thought this would be a great time to get her out, let her see things, see people,” he said, chasing the toddler in her FPL hard hat.

Coming from a small town in the northeast, the Smith family enjoys the variety of activities provided by the City of Palm Coast for

“We actually moved here from Vermont and a very small town that had things like this but it took up such a small space. It’s really cool that it has all this out here for free and made for little kids to enjoy,” he said.

More Than Just Trucks  

In addition to introducing kids to potential trade careers early on, the touch a truck event gives the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Citizen Observer Patrol a chance to interact with families providing them with an important safety kit ahead of the busy summer travel and vacation season according to Jill Dempsey, a dispatcher with the Citizen Observer Patrol unit.

“We are out here today doing children’s fingerprinting. At community events, beaches, parks, theme parks, if you get separated from your child, if you have in the glove compartment of your car, fingerprints, a hair sample, and a current picture that you carry with you at all times, if you had this and you get separated from your child, you can provide that to law enforcement and they can bring out a search and rescue dog and help find your child within the first few hours they go missing,” said Dempsey.

“We ask everyone to come out to Flagler County and get your children fingerprinted. It is free of charge, to all residents. We do not keep any information, we hand it back to you to put into your car so that every time you go out, the information is with you to keep you and your family safe,” she said.

The kit is especially helpful for families traveling nationally or internationally over the summer.

“If you’ve got the picture, the hair sample, the DNA, and fingerprints, any department can use it,” said Dempsey.

The Citizen Observer Patrol will be on site at the upcoming Juneteeth event at Carver Center in June and the July 4th activities in both Flagler Beach and Palm Coast. Families can also stop into the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office District Two location (by Cantina Louie in Palm Coast) to have the kit made.

Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin chats with C.O.P. Dispatcher Jill Dempsey.